Antonio Totaro

San Raffaele Scientific Institute, Milano, Lombardy, Italy

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Publications (4)17.5 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: GIT1 is an ArfGAP and scaffolding protein regulating cell adhesion and migration. The multidomain structure of GIT1 allows the interaction with several partners. Binding of GIT1 to some of its partners requires activation of the GIT1 polypeptide. Our previous studies indicated that binding of paxillin to GIT1 is enhanced by release of an intramolecular interaction between the amino-terminal and carboxy-terminal portions that keeps the protein in a binding-incompetent state. Here we have addressed the mechanism mediating this intramolecular inhibitory mechanism by testing the effects of the mutation of several formerly identified GIT1 phosphorylation sites on the binding to paxillin. We have identified two tyrosines at positions 246 and 293 of the human GIT1 polypeptide that are needed to keep the protein in the inactive conformation. Interestingly, mutation of these residues to phenylalanine did not affect binding to paxillin, while mutation to either alanine or glutamic acid enhanced binding to paxillin, without affecting the constitutive binding to the Rac/Cdc42 exchange factor βPIX. The involvement of the two tyrosine residues in the intramolecular interaction was supported by reconstitution experiments showing that these residues are important for the binding between the amino-terminal fragment and carboxy-terminal portions of GIT1. Either GIT1 or GIT1-N tyrosine phosphorylation by Src and pervanadate treatment to inhibit protein tyrosine phosphatases did not affect the intramolecular binding between the amino- and carboxy-terminal fragments, nor the binding of GIT1 to paxillin. Mutations increasing the binding of GIT1 to paxillin positively affected cell motility, measured both by transwell migration and wound healing assays. Altogether these results show that tyrosines 246 and 293 of GIT1 are required for the intramolecular inhibitory mechanism that prevents the binding of GIT1 to paxillin. The data also suggest that tyrosine phosphorylation may not be sufficient to release the intramolecular interaction that keeps GIT1 in the inactive conformation.
    PLoS ONE 01/2014; 9(4):e93199. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: PIX proteins are exchange factors for Rac and Cdc42 GTPases that are differentially expressed in the brain, where they are implicated in neuronal morphogenesis. The PIX family includes the two members αPIX and βPIX, and the gene of αPIX is mutated in patients with intellectual disability. We have analysed the expression of PIX proteins in the developing brain and addressed their role during early hippocampal neuron development. Mass spectrometry identified several βPIX isoforms and a major p75 αPIX isoform in brain and hippocampal cultures. PIX proteins expression increased with time during neuronal differentiation in vitro. The PIX partners GIT1 and GIT2 are also found in brain and their expression was increased during neuronal differentiation. We found that αPIX, but not βPIX, was required for proper hippocampal neuron differentiation, since silencing of αPIX specifically hampered dendritogenesis and axonal branching. Interestingly, the depletion of GIT2 but not GIT1 mimicked the phenotype observed after αPIX knock-down. Over-expression of αPIX specifically enhanced dendritic branching, while both αPIX and βPIX over-expression affected axonal morphology. Again, only over-expression of GIT2, but not GIT1, affected neuritic morphology. The results indicate that αPIX and GIT2 are required for neuronal differentiation, and suggest that they are part of the same pathway, while GIT1 and βPIX are dispensable for early hippocampal neurons development.
    Biology of the Cell 05/2012; 104(9):533-52. · 3.49 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Integrin activation is needed to link the extracellular matrix with the actin cytoskeleton during cell motility. Protrusion requires coordination of actin dynamics with focal-adhesion turnover. We report that the adaptor protein liprin-alpha1 is stably associated with the cell membrane. Lipin-alpha1 shows a localization that is distinct from that of activated beta1 integrins at the edge of spreading cells. Depletion of liprin-alpha1 inhibits the spreading of COS7 cells on fibronectin by affecting lamellipodia formation, whereas its overexpression enhances spreading, and lamellipodia and focal-adhesion formation at the cell edge. Cooperation between liprin-alpha1 and talin is needed, because either talin or liprin depletion prevents spreading in the presence of the other protein. The effects of liprin on spreading, but not its effects in the reorganization of the cell edge, are dependent on its interaction with leukocyte common antigen-related tyrosine phosphatase receptors. Therefore, liprin is an essential regulator of cell motility that contributes to the effectiveness of cell-edge protrusion.
    Journal of Cell Science 09/2009; 122(Pt 18):3225-32. · 5.88 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: G-protein coupled receptor kinase-interacting protein (GIT) proteins include an N-terminal Arf GTPase-activating protein domain, and a C terminus that binds proteins regulating adhesion and motility. Given their ability to form large molecular assemblies, the GIT1 protein must be tightly regulated. However, the mechanisms regulating GIT1 functions are poorly characterized. We found that carboxy-terminal-truncated fragments of GIT1 bind their partners with higher efficiency compared with the full-length GIT1. We have explored the hypothesis that GIT1 is regulated by an intramolecular mechanism, and we identified two distinct intramolecular interactions between the N and C terminus of GIT1. The release of these interactions increases binding of GIT1 to paxillin and liprin-alpha, and it correlates with effects on cell spreading. Analysis of cells plated on fibronectin has shown that different deletion mutants of GIT1 either enhance or inhibit spreading, depending on their subcellular localization. Moreover, although the association between betaPIX and GIT1 is insufficient to activate GIT1 binding to paxillin, binding of a PAK1 fragment including the betaPIX-binding domain enhances paxillin binding to betaPIX/GIT1, indicating that p21-activated kinase can activate the binding of paxillin to GIT1 by a kinase-independent mechanism. The release of the identified intramolecular interaction seems to be an important mechanism for the regulation of GIT1 functions.
    Molecular Biology of the Cell 01/2008; 18(12):5124-38. · 4.60 Impact Factor